Comfort for those who labor


Wednesday’s Advent Gospel (Mt 11: 28-30) is so beautiful and comforting. No wonder it is specially beloved and quoted by so many of His people. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

     I am trying so hard to talk less and to listen more, for God’s voice, during my prayer. It is not easy. But reading these Gospel sentences from Jesus always makes me feel as if He is personally talking to me with all His tenderness and love.

     One of the blessings of retired life is that my wife and I can go for an early dinner at 5:00 p.m. on a weekday. Last Thursday, while looking out the picture window of the diner, I could see row upon row of slow-moving headlights on Northern Blvd. and the Clearview Expressway in Queens, NY: so many people sitting through the heavy traffic in their cars in the falling darkness after a long day at work. I spent so much of my life like that, like so many others “who labor and are burdened”, longing for a few hours of rest at home. Back then I did not realize that the place of rest was right there within my heart, where the Love of Jesus was always waiting patiently for my conversion.

     Now, years later, when I rest and rejoice in His Love, I have also learned from Him a thing or two. His Love makes His yoke easy and His burden light, but it is still a yoke and a burden. He calls us to share, and relieve, the burdens of so many of our brethren, His brothers and sisters.   

     In the November 26th issue of The Brooklyn Tablet, Fr. Robert Lauder writes:

      ” While many of us may be able to wax eloquently about how beautiful love is, we may need to remind ourselves that in our lives the call to love God and neighbor can be demanding. Dorothy Day, who spent her life loving and serving the poor often referred to an insight from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel,

‘The Brothers Karamasov’. The insight is that in reality, love can be a harsh and dreadful thing. Love can call us to make great sacrifices. Though we benefit from loving, that does not necessarily make loving easy.”

     I pray that the people in those cars realize what an important part love has in the sacrifices and struggles that they undergo in their work-lives. I pray that within their personal loves they discover, some time, somehow, the One who loves them beyond comprehension, the Source of everything that is worthwhile and good in their lives, the One who at the end of the road waits for them with open arms to give them true rest.

Orlando Hernandez

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